Arsenal squandered a one-goal lead as they were defeated 2-1 by Lyon in the Emirates Cup.
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It was a slow start to Arsenal’s first home match of the pre-season. The Gunners are further ahead in their campaign preparations than their opponents, Lyon. But they certainly didn’t look like it with a slow start. That disappointment only increased when Alexandre Lacazette was forced off the pitch inside 13 minutes.
Reiss Nelson entered the fray and Arsenal benefitted. The returning Englishman linked up well with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on a number of occasions. The Gabonese forward laid the ball on a plate for Henrikh Mkhitaryan who forced a fine save out of Anthony Lopes in the Lyon goal.
But the former Dortmund pair weren’t finished. Just five minutes before halftime, Mkhitaryan crossed for Aubameyang who steered his volley into the far corner of the net.
The second half began with Arsenal on the front foot. Substitutes Eddie Nketiah and Nelson impressed with some sharp linkup play and moments of attacking flair.
But Lyon did improve in the second half and it was two former UK-based players who created the next goal. Memphis Depay found room on the left flank and crossed for the former Celtic man Moussa Dembele to head home.
Unai Emery made a triple substitution moments later and it had an immediate impact on the match. Sub Gabriel Martinelli was the liveliest player in the box as he latched onto a loose ball to score but it was ruled out for offside.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, the offside rule went against them. Less than a minute later and Lyon were down the other end of the pitch with Dembele. The Frenchman broke the offside trap and made it 2-1 Lyon.
Here’s how we rate the Arsenal players:
Bernd Leno – 6
He was fine. Bernd Leno didn’t have the busiest afternoon of his career but couldn’t do much about the Lyon goal.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 6.5
A bit of a mixed bag from Ainsley Maitland-Niles. He had some good moments but his standard dropped as the match progressed. The Englishman should’ve done better to stop Memphis Depay from crossing for the equalising goal.
Sub: Carl Jenkinson (76′) – 6
Carl Jenkinson did well enough.
Calum Chambers – 6.5
Calum Chambers did well alongside Sokratis. The Englishman was solid in possession but wasn’t tested for much of the match. When he was, the defender made the mistake of allowing Dembele time behind him.
Sub: Shkodran Mustafi (70′) – 6
Shkodran Mustafi impressed in his 20 minutes on the pitch. He had a couple of nice headers as well as a fine tackle to dispossess Moussa Dembele in his own area.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos – 7
Sokratis did well. The Greek defender is enjoying a better pre-season this year than he did last time around.
Nacho Monreal – 6
He was fine. Nacho Monreal looked sharp enough or most of the match barring a couple of mistakes.
Sub: Zech Medley (86′) – N/A
Granit Xhaka – 5.5
Granit Xhaka struggled at times this afternoon. The Swiss midfielder was a little sluggish with a sloppy touch in midfield. He improved as the match went on but will need to up his levels in the coming weeks.
Matteo Guendouzi – 8
Barring a few mistakes, he was probably the best player on the pitch in the first half. It was a fine return to the team for Matteo Guendouzi who only rejoined the team a few days ago.
Sub: Eddie Nketiah (45′) – 7
Eddie Nketiah impressed in the second half. There was one exciting moment when he skipped past Lyon’s Joachim Andersen with relative ease but failed to find the finish.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 7
Henrikh Mkhitaryan did well enough. The Armenian international had a couple of moments of real quality and found some good areas.
Sub: Gabriel Martinelli (70′) – 6
He struggled to get into the match at times but Gabriel Martinelli can be fairly pleased with his afternoon.
Joe Willock – 8
A fine performance from Joe Willock. He looked every bit the senior player today with a fine display.
Sub: Dani Ceballos (70′) – 6.5
Dani Ceballos looked sharp on his first Arsenal appearance. The Spaniard moved around the pitch well and was reliable in possession.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 8
He did well. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring and looked lively all afternoon.
Sub: Robbie Burton (86′) – N/A
Alexandre Lacazette – N/A
Alexandre Lacazette had a couple of nice touches against his former side. Let’s hope his substitution was more of a precaution than anything else.
Sub: Reiss Nelson (13′) – 7
Reiss Nelson can be pleased with his afternoon. The 19-year-old had some moments of real quality in important areas of the pitch and was unfortunate not to add a goal to his performance.
Sub: Tyreece John-Jules (76′) –